The woman – known only as “Sandy” – said the drama occurred when she was out shopping with her three children – aged 12, eight and five. Her husband was in isolation at the time so the four of them headed to the supermarket to pick up some essentials, she wrote on blogging site Reddit.
As they waited to pay for their shopping, she revealed that she gave her eight-year-old an iPad with headphones because he is autistic and “doesn’t like loud noises or strangers touching him”.
This led to an old woman complaining about the boy using technology, she wrote.
In response, her oldest child turned to the woman and said: “You stupid b**ch, he’s autistic.”
Sandy claimed swearing at a stranger would normally result in a telling off.
Sandy added: “I’m ignoring her, but 12 grabs me and says: ‘I think we have an issue’.
“I don’t want to startle him, so 12 moves between them. But five is looking at more cookies.
“The old woman told me my kids were rude, ignoring her.
“She taps on my eight-year-old, and I pull him aside.
“He looks up from his iPad and takes his headphones off to see if something is wrong.
“I’m trying to get his headphones back on, and the old woman says these types of things are for at home only, and I need to teach my kids to interact in public.
“She tells eight he’s old enough to know better than to act like this.
“(She’s) scolding him, loudly (and) publicly and in the middle of the store.”
With the youngster showing the “first signs of a meltdown, the 12-year-old swore at the woman.
Talking about the incident afterwards, she said: “’While I usually would tell 12 off because I have more issues to deal with.
“The old lady wants to talk to security and starts making a scene about my kids screaming they called her a b**ch.
“I finally leave a full cart of food there and leave. Security tried to stop me, saying I had to get eight to the car.
“He has autism, and he’s going to have a major meltdown. 12 talks to security and tells him about the old lady in line.”
The post attracted a largely positive reaction on Reddit, with many praising the boy for standing up to his sibling.
One commentator wrote: “The lady had no right starting drama over something that did not include her at all.
“Sometimes protecting family is more important than being polite when the other person assumes they have privileges because of their age.
“I think people forget touching strangers is assault.”
Others suggested speaking to the 12-year-old privately about swearing and said it was inappropriate in any scenario.